After finally approving mobile sports betting in April, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) took its time implementing the new industry. On July 1, it missed the state-imposed deadline to issue a request for applications (RFA) for online operators. But after a week, the commission did issue its guidelines.
Senator Joe Addabbo expression his frustration at the delay.
“The fact that our state couldn’t meet its initial mobile sports betting deadline to take a positive step towards recognizing additional educational and anti-addiction funding is disappointing,” he said. “I remain confident that, in the end, New York will have a premier, top-shelf mobile sports betting product to offer its residents, and effectively compete in the market.”
Addabbo and others have set Super Bowl LVI—February 2022—as the date to launch sports betting in New York. Even a two-week delay of the RFA could disrupt that plan. Applicants have 30 days to respond to the RFA, which means commissioners wouldn’t have bids until mid-August. At that point, the NYSGC has 150 days to choose two preferred providers. If it goes the distance within that timeframe, operators wouldn’t be approved until January 15—just weeks before the coin flip at SoFi Stadium in California.
According to the application posted at the NYSGC website, operators can expect a hefty application fee and tax rate. The application envisions two platform provider and four operators willing to pay a $25 million license fee for a 10-year license, and at least a 50 percent tax on gross gaming revenue. Applicants who agree to a higher tax rate get “points” that would assist in them winning the bid. The tax rate is far higher than any other state, and could discourage applications, particularly since it’s sports betting only, with no mention of online casino gaming. Applications are due August 9, and the finalists will be announced in December.
Commissioners’ procrastination thus far doesn’t inspire confidence among bettors that they’ll get to place legal mobile bets on the big game, SportsHandle.com reports. The RFA date “has been circled on the calendar for months since the New York legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a pact in April to legalize online sports wagering in the nation’s fourth-largest state,” the website noted. “Cuomo, a three-term governor, has indicated that New York has the capability to emerge as the nation’s largest market for mobile sports betting. At maturity, Cuomo’s office projects that online sports wagering could bring the state $500 million a year in tax revenue.”
Cuomo wants a revenue-sharing arrangement that would give the state up to 55 percent range of a sportsbook’s gross gaming revenue. Cuomo believes the state could earn $49 million in tax revenue in 2022 and $357 million in ’23. A mature market could generate $500 million in the state, according to the governor’s office.
Major sportsbook companies such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars/William Hill are expected to take part in the application process despite the onerous tax rate.
The Super Bowl “is the big event,” Addabbo told SportsHandle. “I still remain optimistic.”